Monday, June 13, 2011

HCB - Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake

For this week's Free Choice, I decided to bake a cake that everyone raved about just a week ago: Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake. I didn't have a chance to bake along that weekend so I baked it for Free Choice week. A big thanks to Jenn of Knitty Baker for convincing me that I didn't want to miss out on this cake, especially since I love almonds. An even bigger thanks to Rose for creating this recipe. It's another masterpiece! :o)

Look at that crumb!
Although it's a bit hard to see on this picture, during baking, the almond cream sinks to the bottom of the cake, which is now the top part of the cake slice. It's so creamy and smooth with a wonderful almond flavor. It's my favorite part of the cake :o)


For this cake, I decided to make almond paste from scratch, using Joe Pastry’s recipe. I made a little over 6oz of almond paste in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.


It’s very tasty and it also beats paying $7 at the store for the same amount of almond paste. I only needed 2oz for the cake so now I have enough to make this cake 2 more times. Yay! Rose says that leftover almond paste freezes very well, so that's exactly what I did.

To make almond cream, you mix almond paste, sugar, an egg, some butter and a little flour in the food processor. Refrigerate it while you make the cake batter.


The butter + sour cream based batter came together quickly. I actually prepared the batter at home and then took it over to my friend’s house (note: she had preheated her oven for me and only lives 1 mile from my house). I put the almond cream in a ziploc bag and cut off a tip to make a quick "piping bag".


After you scrape the batter into the cake pan, you make a depression in the middle of the cake and spoon the almond cream in the depression. Or in my case, quickly squirt the almond cream into the depression and voila! Layer the sliced pears on top and cover the pears with a little more batter.


I took it out of the oven after 55 minutes. It was beautifully golden brown and delicious.





After sitting on the deck to cool for about 10 minutes, I gently unmolded the cake, with my fingers (and toes) crossed, hoping that nothing got stuck to the pan (many other HCB-ers had that problem last week).

Voila!

We ate the cake about 1.5 hours after it came out of the oven. Pure perfection!!! The crust is still crunchy and the inside is soft, buttery, and just melts in your mouth. Everybody loved it.

Final thoughts/tips:
  • We ate the cake at my friends where everybody raved about the cake. Hubby rated it an 8.5 out of 10. His only minor complaint was that the cake was a tiny bit crumbly. Most butter cakes are a bit crumbly so I don't think that's an issue.
  • The almond flavor was a bit subtle for my husband (as well as my friend's husband). That's my fault because I skipped the addition of almond extract to the almond paste (using vanilla extract instead).
  • This cake is definitely one of my new favorites in the book and will be made again. For a relatively simple cake, it has many layers of flavor and textures which I found intriguing: the soft and tender crumb of the cake, the moistness of the pears, and the smoothness and creaminess of the almond cream. All this is encapsulated within a beautiful golden brown and crispy crust. In short: every bite is a little party in my mouth.
  • Changes: not many this time. I only skipped adding lemon juice to the pear slices because I cut up the pear shortly before I added it to the cake.

10 comments:

  1. Look at that crumb AND look at that crust! Beautiful cake; glad you all enjoyed it.

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  2. Wow. Your cake looks beautiful inside and out. We loved it as well because the taste was just as you describe. Perfect.

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  3. I love the mould you've used to make this cake! I bet it was delicious too with those wonderful ingredients of pear and almond. My favourite!

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  4. Hanaâ, your cake looks heavenly!! And the pan you used is gorgeous! Looks like I will have to add this to my list! Hope you are having a great summer! xo

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  5. Beautiful cake, Hanaa! I love that pan. Looks so pretty. And congrats on successful un-molding.

    Glad to hear everyone loved this cake. It will be a repeat in our house as well.

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  6. Your cake is just beautiful!

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  7. I haven't tried this, but it looks like what I had. I know the farmer makes so much that he has a machine to do it.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/home-made-farmers-cheese/Detail.aspx

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  8. Boo...I think my first post got eaten :(

    Gorgeous, Hanaa! Both the whole cake and the slice are beautiful! You've inspired me to make and include the almond cream next time.

    How did you find the flavor of the pears? Mine were so bland...did the almond bring out their flavor at all?

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  9. your cake looks perfect! this was a wonderful cake; wish i had a slice right now!

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  10. what a great idea to make your own almond paste! It's always great to save a few bucks. It looks wonderful. I can't wait to make this one myself! I was trying to wait until later in the summer to make it because that's when the pears are in season but i'm guessing it was just fine using the ones that are out now?

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